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Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
Wheat flour… soy flour… corn syrup, really!?
Wait… that can’t be right…
That’s the only natural ingredient… and it’s toxic to dogs!
A couple weeks ago, a friend and I went shopping for pet supplies.
My friend, who is a meticulous eater, is even pickier when it comes to her pup. So when she started to read off the ingredients in Snausages, a popular dog treat, she was blown away.
And frankly, I was too.
Once I took a deeper look at the label, I couldn’t believe the garbage that pet treats are made of. But what was even more upsetting, the only natural food in the treat is toxic to dogs.
In fact, it can even be deadly. We will reveal exactly what it is in just a minute Plus, we’ll provide you with few healthy treat solutions for your treasured companions.
After scoping the several labels, including those of “pet-friendly” sandwich cookies and non-nutritional slop shaped like chicken bones and toothbrushes, I soon realized that they were all bad news!
I’ve narrowed down the top three most common unhealthy ingredients being passed off as “foods” for cats and dogs – while they all were upsetting, the last one was downright shocking!
Sugar is hiding in many treats. This includes ingredients like corn syrup, dextrose, and molasses. While molasses may be the least offensive here, added sugars serve no nutritional purpose for your cat or dog, just as they don’t for you. It’s not classified as toxic to either species though it may lead to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay in your pet.
When it comes to our feline friends, there’s absolutely no need to bother with sugar — they can’t even taste it. Research from the Monell Chemical Senses Center shows that cats lack the genetic coding linked to tasting sweet foods. This means any added sugar in your cat’s treats isn’t providing pleasure but instead setting your little buddy up for health issues.
2. Wheat, Corn, Soy
All the treats I investigated had some form of wheat, corn, or soy. Right off the bat, this means there are GMOs in your pet’s treats. And where there are GMOs, there could be glyphosate, which might mean trouble for your pet’s stomach.
Per Dr. Michael Fox DVM, health conditions like allergies, skin and organ issues, and inflammatory bowel disease may be consequences of feeding your pets foods and treats with GMO products.
In addition to the GMO issue, dogs are selective omnivores and cats are carnivores. Evolutionarily speaking, it doesn’t make sense to feed animals grains. Due to their primitive digestive systems, dogs and cats have don’t have the gastric support to break down cereal grains. This means these hard-to-digest fibers may remain undigested and could eventually lead to the same types of digestive issues associated with GMOs.
That being said, it doesn’t mean the occasional veggie or plant-based treat isn’t right for your pet. We will share few options in a bit.
3. Garlic and Onions
All members of the Allium species of plants are highly toxic to dogs and cats. These include onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives, and scallions. Once ingested, these plants can cause red blood cell damage. In a toxic dose, this can result in anemia, internal organ damage or failure, and even death.
And that’s why I was shocked to see garlic powder as a listed ingredient for Snausages. It’s impossible to know the amount of garlic powder in these, but any amount has the potential to cause a dangerous reaction.
Also, since garlic and onions are such popular seasonings in human foods, Allium poisoning is one reason why table scraps are discouraged as treats, unless they are unseasoned.
Full Flavor, No Threat
By now you may be thinking, Are any treats safe for my pets?
The answer is yes.
But you won’t find many in the aisles of your local pet store.
You see, even many grain-free and natural pet treats still have added sugars in them. So it’s in your pet’s best interest to provide them with an unprocessed treat.
Here are two to get you started:
Carrots and Green Beans
For dogs, raw carrots and green beans are good choices. Just be sure to chop them small to prevent any choking hazards. If your buddy is a little older, cooking these veggies is a good idea, especially if they have dental or digestive issues. Be sure to skip the seasonings.
While cats don’t require any veggies in their diets, it’s fun to give them an occasional treat. Carrots and green beans that are cooked without seasoning and chopped finely make for good cat treats without added toxins.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily